PDP-501MX 50" Plasma Monitor (SGHT Review) Calibration

Sidebar 3: Calibration

Jamie Wilson, the ISF technician who calibrated the Pioneer PDP-501MX for me, found the color-temperature settings of the first sample to be "pretty impressive right out of the box." But given how many places this set had been before it reached me, there was no way to know whether or not someone else had already changed the settings. Still, the monitor measured near the NTSC standard across the board; there seemed little need to adjust it. Given that, I saw no need to recalibrate the second sample.

Of course, the convergence is perfect: The red, green, and blue pixels are aligned just as they ought to be. Geometry—the ability to render straight lines at the far margins of the screen—is also flawless. Horizontal resolution, as measured with the Video Essentials test pattern, came in at approximately 480 lines. That's about as high as DVD will go. Of course, given its inherent resolution of 1280x768, this set can do much better with a high-definition source.

The PDP-501MX does display a problem endemic to plasma monitors: solarization, or "pixelization," as Wilson called it. On some scenes with transitions between relatively uniform areas, such as skin tones or hair, the monitor misfires, painting a broad area of the image in a solid color. This is sort of like a computer effect, or a photo negative that has been exposed to heat. The Pioneer is no better at this than most other plasma displays, and no worse.—Joel Brinkley